RE: Theos-World RE: Evidence for mental events breaking physical speed limit
Nov 26, 1999 05:18 PM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck
I thank you for sharing the material that you have in your two
It is most interesting and also it reveals that some of the
analysis is apparently very advanced in terms of such detail. I
notice that those who have considered cognition, receptivity of
ideas, and the generating of concepts have developed a technical
vocabulary that one would have to learn carefully before being
able to discuss at parity with them in their vocabulary.
Theosophy, however, to my way of understanding is written for the
common man to grasp -- the one who is most likely to actually use
the mind, thoughts, ideas and concepts without going through the
analytical process that a professor might use.
There has to be a bridge between the two.
The word gestalt seem to be used as one would who views a whole
picture, regardless of the way in which it is built up. I seem
to gather the concept that in describing ideas and their
reception, comparison, and the response thereto, have been
compared largely to comparative details found in photography or
printing, and the way in which the eye can be deceived by those
processes into seeing colors and shapes that are not actually
there, in other words their representatives or "shadows" of
But why conclude that the processes used in our physical world of
color and shape are entirely comparable to the subjective
processes of idea perception, formation or conveyance?
What if a totally different process were used in a medium of
which we have as yet no exact perception, but, whose translated
effects we form our basis of experience here, can be reduced to
the analogy just mentioned.
Would this not be carrying the analogy too far?
As an example I cast a fleeting glance at the SUN. I do that
because previous experience shows I can burn my retina and cause
a loss of future perception there where that bright image is for
a moment focused. But with this fleeting look I not only see the
orange white color, but there is as an after-image a blue color
that shows up. How to account for that? The effect can be
analyzed, the occurrence is not explained thereby. The event is
recorded but not explained except by using an analogy we are
familiar with. The names do not explain. But they give us a
Now it is dark as I write and the SUN is behind a hill to the
west, using my mind's eye I can cast up an image drawn from
memory and place in and on that any variation my imagination
might desire to picture. Is it possible to say where memory
ceases and fantasy begins? Who and what are the processes by
which fantasy operates to blur accurate memory?
I visited Ankor Wat, Ellora, Pollonarua, Sigiria, Buddha Gaya,
the Kulu valley and Swat, and also Borobudur many years ago and
can recreate in my mind pictures of what I saw and where I went.
I know that these images drawn from memory were and are limited
to an experience then. And that the current reality is quite
different as to superficial detail.
I have listened to talks and lectures, and sometimes an hour
later the exact statements, words, meanings have become blurred.
I know that with the help of Hypnotism it is possible to recreate
and reproduce the exact words and events as heard or seen by me.
And that is limited to my perception. Had you been with me on my
trips or attended the same lectures, your memories and
perceptions would vary, in detail from mine, and one might say
that the degree of attention WE placed on the event delineated
our memories with more or less accuracy.
The mysterious power of concentration, attention and will that
each one employs individually leaves an impression that is strong
or weak in terms of the personal interests of the experiencer.
And this is another variable. The object in itself is a reality
then, and an new reality today. My memory shows intensities or
gaps depending on what I was interested in at the time of making
a personal record. Additionally in me is a recording system that
I cannot ordinarily evoke which records everything. I would also
take into account the well-known biological/medical fact that the
human body changes its atomic and molecular structure to about 96
% annually. And in 7 years it is said to be totally replaced.
Yet, my senses of identity and my "memories" of 30 to 50 years
ago are available to me even in the physical tool that my body is
today, and even though it has been altered or replaced. How is
that explained? Transmission of impressions? How ?
At best we have proved that each event produces a hologram of
effects, and that all who were present absorbed an aspect of that
hologram and each pixel demonstrates both its individuality (if
that be allowed) and its capacity for registering the entire
event/picture, or whatever.
Now if the whole of Nature does this, if every sentient atom has
this capacity, then the surrounding "ether" is surcharged with
these billions of superimposed images -- all memories. Theosophy
holds that the Astral Light and the Akasa are both recording
areas where these are stored for short periods or long periods of
But of what possible use is this descriptive process, much of
which may be speculative, because we cannot entirely penetrate
(yet) to the planes or perception and reception of Nature. It
may satisfy our hope of providing us, within the framework of our
experience on the physical plane, with something that
approximates the reality. So, then, What value has it ?
As to the processes that either the Sankhya or the Buddhist
schools discuss, the verbiage may seem different, but either of
them deal with the same things, one uses a different method than
the other. What is valuable is the ability to perceive this and
then to reconcile the two. I would say that this ability far
transcends any ability to find the precise words that describe
either process or position. This last is synthesis rather than
analysis. One can spend a great deal of time trying to adjust
words, when a simple adjustment of ideas to discover the
essentials is valuable. Is that why it is said that a picture is
worth a thousand words?
I realise that this is in no way an "answer" to what I have read.
But it is a point of view that attempts to do away with confusion
of language and ask what actually is a thought, or an idea. How
is it generated? Who or what in us does this generating? What
can we do to control and use this process? It is so easy to
loose sight of the questions in attempts to make scholarly
In the VOICE OF THE SILENCE, (By H.P.Blavatsky) in the section
titled THE TWO PATHS there is an attempt made to show the
difference and the relationship between what are named the "Eye"
and the "Heart" doctrines. It is inevitable that the academic
who seeks extreme accuracy in describing events and relationships
uses a precise vocabulary. But while this has its value, the
actual user of the process needs practical answer.
As an example there is a relationship, and also a wide difference
between the Chemist in his lab and the Chemical Engineer in his
factory. The Engineer uses the discoveries of the Chemist, but
in making them practically available to the public, he employs
short-cuts that achieve results statistically useful while
rejecting those by-products, etc. which have no relevance to what
he desires to develop and make available for use. It is not that
they are not recognized, they are merely set aside so that they
can be analyzed and perhaps developed separately into products
that can be used for other things. It is also true that these
by-products have often (in the past) been unsafely stored or
dumped and the resulting pollution of land, water and air has
caused important legal revisions to be applied as to their
disposal. But the real moral of the story is that the Engineer
under the control of the owners failed to provide adequate
safeguards for the public. One may call this the "moral" aspect
of science and its applications. It is this moral aspect that
ought to be always held relevant. Does not everyone ultimately
suffer from such moral lapses? What is their future impact on
those who permit this and on the civilization that accepts them?
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 1999 1:56 PM
Subject: Re: Theos-World RE: Evidence for mental events breaking
physical speed limit
Dallas, Grigor, and other interested theosophists and scientists,
With respect to the information given by Grigor and the pertinent
asked by Dallas (posted below)--rather than answer them
starters, I thought that you all might be interested in a recent
between myself and other scientists corresponding through the
interdisciplinary scientific Journal of Consciousness Study (JCS-
(Incidentally, this is one of more than several dozens of my
published on JCS-online over the past 3 years that attempts to
scientists to theosophical fundamental truths in their own terms:
effort has resulted in more than 2,500 hits to my ABC web site in
year alone, as well as to untold thousands of scientific research
hits to the
SD [through Blavatsky.net] as a result of my continued cross
In a message dated 11/22/99 6:21:05 PM, Anthony_Sebastian@msn.com
>Peter Lloyd, you write:
>>"...Rahul [Banerjee] is proposing to analyse an *experience*
>>*cognitive* processes. This is like analysing a colour picture
>>monochrome grey dots: it's a reductive category-error in Ryle's
>>To get a colour picture, you build it up with coloured dots. To
>>qualia-rich experience, you build it up from simpler
>>not from cognitive processes."
What is a micro experience, if not the result of a cognitive
concept of building up of an image from micro dots of color and
gray applies primarily to image transformational processes such
as in the
transmission and recording of printed and television/movie
images, as well as
to images transformed from the retinal arrays to the
images we ultimately perceive.
It's obvious that the inner picture we actually "see" is a total
experience which appears to our conscious awareness as an
holographic reconstruction of the entire original object scene's
image--which, at the first intermediate step in any such
to be broken down into individual pixels, whether digitally,
by means of the individual rods and cones on the retinas. The
perceptive experience also has characteristics of holographic,
depth that is very difficult to explain by sequential analytic
Thus, this initial image breakdown into "dots" and their further
transformation into the root of the holographic image we actually
occurs entirely in both the brain and the mind, and implies that
perception and cognition are interrelated and are simply a
gestalt process of
holistic consciousness... Limited, of course, by our particular
focus (convergence) as we intentionally shift our attention to
parts of the already perceptively complete image reconstructed in
brain-mind fields. Cognition, which is a function of the
however, could very well occur AFTER this image reconstruction
completed and initial perceptive awareness experienced.
>Yet, with gray dots, you can get richly textured,
>including written language with all its colorful splendor. You
>selling cognitive processes short in ruling them out as the
Agreed, but they are certainly not the whole picture.
>Analyzing experience into cognitive processes may not be as
>you claim. What you need first is a 'conception' of experience
in terms of
>The problem may lie in a too narrow restriction of the current
>of.,'experience' as 'conscious experience.' Once you understand
>primordially a non-conscious activity, things begin to clear up
for a seeing
>a cognitive basis for conscious experience.
How can experience, which is a function coincident with awareness
as well as
cognition (related to both mind and memory), be non-conscious?
How can we
experience (whether subliminally or wakefully) without referring
of our awareness of such experience to cognitive thinking?
Even if such cognition is below our level of wakeful conscious
is still an experience of consciousness, per se. It appears that
subconscious experience as well as thought must be coincidental,
therefore, together, they constitute the basis of
cognition--whether or not
we are wakefully conscious or subliminally conscious (what we
"unconscious"). Perhaps, the real problem is our confusion of
consciousness, cognition, and awareness, let alone our inability
their mechanisms through reductive analysis.
>For example, consider a non-conscious experience of an external
>consisting of receiving information about the object and
>reacting to that information as biology dictates. In words,
>as cognitive functioning. Now try to imagine what it would be
like for a
>system so experiencing an object non-consciously if, at the same
>received, processed and reacted to the information about its
>There is no reason a priori why cognitive functioning could not
>subject to concurrent cognitive processing. So there is no
reason a priori
>why a system could not be cognizant of the activity of its
>external reality, say. The system then not only cognizes the
apple but at
>the same time cognizes that it is cognizing the apple. The
apple is not
>just perceived but perceived as being perceived. There could be
>basic variety of conscious experience.
>Do you think we have exhausted the possibilities whereby
>experiencing can be explained in terms of cognitive functioning?
Taking this as a rhetorical question, I would say, of course not.
the possibility that the first replicate image after leaving the
retinas is a
reconstructed interference pattern in the brain's EM field
produced by the
synthesis of all the minor fields generated by the individual
electromagnetically reflecting the coherent point-source
received and transmitted by each rod or cone. If we also
perceptive awareness is the universal function of the ubiquitous
and that one such point represents our individual consciousness
intuitively apparent)... And, further, that there are
fields of different dimensionality or frequency phase orders
superstring theory) that inductively resonate with the brain
field --then it
becomes obvious that our "conscious awareness" is the product of
transformations and is a unitary process of both perception and
that does not depend upon either the sequential analysis of micro
experiences, nor does it depend on any secondary or underlying
Perceiving an image, then, just is what it is... An immediate
awareness of the entire reconstructed holographic field of view
in which we
can, at will, select any point in it as the focus of our
secondarily, our cognition-- which, in effect, is simply a series
brain-mind processes independent of awareness, but coincident
it--whether wakefully attentive or subliminally inattentive (or,
so to speak,
"subconscious," rather than "unconscious"). (It seems we still
to terms with our terms.:-)
Of course, this does not refer to the conditions prevalent when
subjected to deep degrees of unconsciousness, e.g.,
paths to sensory organs have been entirely blocked. However,
even in such
cases, there would have to remain some degree of awareness or
consciousness, since the brain would have to be aware of the
beating of the
heart and other autonomic functions in order to maintain its
function as a self guided, individual and autonomous organism.
Could it be,
then, that all the organs and organisms that make up our entire
have some degree of independent consciousness in the form of
awareness (related to their zero-points)?
With respect to our visual system, there appears to no more
explanation of both the mechanisms of perception, or the
experience of the
qualia at any particular image point of focussed attention, than
described above. This possibility of the holographic nature of
conscious (and subconscious) awareness, if true, would not
reductive scientific theory to explain cognition--other than the
QM and, perhaps, superstrings, applied to the *physical* actions
on the level
of electrochemical correlates of the brain's neurology as well as
multidimensional correlates of the cosmic zero-point field
energies, as they
relate to both the thought processes in the malleable mind field
formation of the brain field's pre-perceptive and precognitive
image (interference) patterns.
Perception as well as cognition, then, could be a unitary process
all the primary brain and secondary intermediate fields between
mechanisms and the awareness... One of which may be the *mind*
could then be considered as the root of the cognitive processes.
per se, then, might be described as consisting of perceptive
processes dealing with a malleable, intermediate field of
information on one or another level or dimension of awareness.
words, being aware of our mental thoughts with relation to the
awareness of a
visual or other sensory image (either directly or referring to
be considered as two different levels of consciousness with
respect to an
apparently single center of perceptive awareness. i.e.; Since
is ubiquitous as well as contiguous with all other zero-points in
scientific "vacuum" of space, and since each field has its own
center of origin, awareness would be capable of altering its
mind and memory fields as well as the ability to intentionally
holographically reconstructive, coherent ray of intent (which
entirely reflective) in any spatial direction. All this,
cognition is a function of consciousness and that the brain is
neural image transducer and control input-output "machinery"
consciousness (as awareness) and the sensory mechanisms of the
body. To make
this a bit clearer, it should be noted that the following
premises are some
of the axiomatic bases of these theoretical assumptions:
1) The zero-point (Laya point*) is located at the root source of
energy and is ubiquitous and congruent throughout
2) Awareness and qualia are the inherent receptive functions of
zero-point (which is expressed as phenomenal consciousness when
with living, homeostatic organisms--themselves composed of
non-radiant mass-energy fields in more or less stable
3) Holographic formative image information is carried and
transformed analogically in Nature solely by inductive resonance
cyclic wave front interference patterns of radiant energy fields
spectral frequency orders or dimensional phases.
4) All coherent rays of energy at whatever level of frequency
within the parent cosmic energy field of origin, are entirely
and from their initial zero-points of origin.
5) All matter-energy fields are both coadunate (although not
with, and entirely transparent (although refractive in varying
zero-point fields and their radiant energies.
Can anyone think of a more parsimonious description of a system
both the answer to qualia as well as the mechanisms of
consistent relationship to biology, physiology, transpersonal
biochemistry and post modern physics?
(Not the moderator... Funny coincidence, huh?/:-))
*Ref: Secret Doctrine - The Synthesisi of Science Religion and
Philosophy, H. P. Blavatsky,1888 (www.blavatsky.net)
List Moderator: Len Maurer <email@example.com>
jcs-online is a service of the Journal of Consciousness Studies
In a message dated 11/22/99 10:25:44 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
<< Nov 22
Thanks for this valuable information.
I have gleaned from the study of Theosophy the following and
would ask to have it examined and critiqued:
It has been shown that the production of any act is preceded by:
1. A need or desire.
2. Imagination and planning as to how to obtain that object.
3. Visualization by the mind.
4. Planning the necessary steps to implement usages -- several
5. Consideration of alternatives and also,
6. Considering the ethics and morality of the proposed actions
7. Sending an impulse from MIND to brain.
8. Reception of such impulse by BRAIN. (Brain neural activity)
9. Brain organizing and selecting neuro pathways to secure the
necessary multiple cooperative acts of various muscles.
10. Final action or speech on the PHYSICAL PLANE. And continued
actions and reactions.
All steps from 1 to 7 are subjective, and non determinable
The is not any reception of sensory input, nor any sensory output
(either reactive or spontaneously voluntary) which does not
originate as a SUBJECTIVE event.
OBJECTIVITY is the manifestation on the physical plane of
measurable change or action that can be analyzed.
There are at least 5 areas where input is received (sound, smell,
taste, feeling and seeing). Similarly there are five methods of
originating actions the hands and feet make 4 and the MIND is the
5th the supreme coordinator for each being.
The nature and location of this "supreme coordinator" remains to
[ Example: we use electricity and its partner magnetism in many
ways. But we do not know the nature of either. We give names to
actions and have erected theories to explain to ourselves with
our present knowledge how these originate and "flow."
But are those the final realities? What is aether? What is
Light, Heat, Time, Space ? Why is Nature all around us? Who and
what are we? What is CONSCIOUSNESS? Where does INTELLIGENCE
come from? What is INSTINCT ? and so on.
One might say that "naming" something does not necessarily
"explain" it. ]
From: Hazarapet@aol.com [mailto:Hazarapet@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, November 22, 1999 10:39 AM
To: Theosophy Study List
Subject: Evidence for mental events breaking physical speed limit
There is some interesting new research about to be published
next two years. The question that has been experimentally tested
is whether all mental events are physical or not, or rather, is
there physical evidence for there being non-physical processes.
Now obviously we know little, in science, about the phenomenology
of mental events. But we don't have to know. All we need to
is the processing speed of the human brain. If we find that a
human can complete a mental task, such as a pattern recognition
problem-solving task, that has been designed, per hypothesis, as
one that could not be completed in a given amount of time if all
the "mental processing" of it was a physical process, then there
is some indirect physical evidence of "mental events," so to
not bound by the physical "speed limit," so to speak. Again,
getting too technical, a few clarifications might be in order.
The expression "processing speed" is vague. Since events in the
brain are not that well mapped (hardly at all), how can we
speak of processing speed. An analogy with computers may help.
When speaking if the "speed" of a computer, one is speaking
equivocally or one is speaking about one of two separate
computer engineering, "speed" is either "processing speed" or
"through-put." Processing speed is a measure of how quickly any
task is completed, from start to finish, by the CPU. Through-put
is how many tasks a computer can perform in a given time. Now,
you can increase throughput (but not processing speed) by adding
CPUs for parallel-processing. Given more processors, a computer
can complete more tasks (doing more than one at once) even though
the processing speed of each CPU remains the same. But if one
designs a faster processor (i.e., one with a faster processing
one can increase both processing time and throughput. Now there
are other factors involved on a computer's "speed." For example,
devices hamper "speed." Why? Because a signal takes a certain
amount of time to transverse a certain distance. The distance to
and from the primary I/O devices, namely keyboard and monitor,
cannot be practically closed (if humans are going to use the
So, the time it takes, on average, for signals to transverse that
distance to and from cannot be shortened significantly. Similar
constraints apply to accessing CDs, Disks, and tape.
has allowed an increase in speed simply for the simple fact that
we are talking about a smaller space and thus time for a signal
to transverse between components. The old vacuum tube or
even transistorized computers had not even a ghost of a chance
of being as fast as today's machines because of the distance/size
of components through which a signal travelled because longer
the distance the longer the time. There are some new emerging
speed constraints with the issue of how miniaturized can we
get with silicon. Silicon was chosen because it retains its
semi-conductive properties at a microscopic level (i.e., in
effect, two conducting paths can be extremely close together
without "short-circuiting" each other - to speak roughly).
But the calculated limits of how small a silicon chip can get
before its semi-conductivity breaksdown is already know and
the hunt for a new semi-conductive material is underway (although
it will be some time before this becomes a real worry). But, it
will always remain an invariant limit, no matter how much
miniaturization there is, that the time it takes a physical
signal to transverse any amount of space, no matter how
small, has an upper limit (i.e., speed of light).
So, what does all this reflection on computers, speed, and
distance have to do with the brain? Plenty, the brain is a given
size. Its neurons are of a given size. The length of the neural
nets from brain to body is of a known given size. Compared
to the modern cpu, the brain, neuron, and nervous system
are rather large. So, the time it takes a signal to physically
transverse a distance is longer if the distance is longer. But
we need to look at material also. A nerve fiber consists of
a mixed solution of ordinary salt (sodium chloride). So,
there is sodium, potassium, and chloride ions in the
nerve fiber. Sodium and potassium ions are positively
charged. Chloride ions are negatively charged. Given
that there are more chloride ions, the rest state of a nerve
fiber is negatively charged. A nerve signal is a region of
charge reversal flowing through the fiber. When a signal
reaches a synaptic knob, it emits a neurotransmitter that
travels to the next neuron to its dendrite or soma. Anyway,
in human, this network is insulated by the fatty substance myelin
so that signals can travel without much interference even between
neurons. Given these materials, the speed of a travelling neural
signal, in any and all neurons, is 120 meters per second. So,
we can say that the "processing time" of a neuron is this speed.
The brain might have a faster through-put if it had something
like a parallel processing arrangement. But still, assuming
that that might be the case, a minimum amount of time
can be calculated based on spaces signals have to travel
at 120 meters per second. So, given that number, tests
can be preformed even at our limited level of knowledge.
So, for example, there is a minimum amount of time that it
takes for a signal to transverse the optic nerve from retina
to brain, and so on. Given a vague knowledge (but enough)
of how the brain is organized (in terms of charge patterns
during kinds of activity) and even taking into account the
possibility of something like parallel processing in the brain,
and despite our huge ignorance about much of how the brain
works, we still know the time a given signal takes to transverse
a certain physical distance. With this knowledge alone, despite
all the things we don't know, a group of physicists and
neurophysiologists were able to come up with tasks that it
would be physically impossible for the brain to complete
within a given amount of time as well as events that should
be too fast to be a registered event for the brain. Again, the
question was are there non-physical mental events. On the
assumption that everything was physical, that mental events
were physical (even if we don't know how they are neurally
realized), certain assigned tasks could not be accomplished
in a given amount of time.
Without getting into someone else's research, they studied
advanced meditators (who had been found in late 70s and
early 80s to have ability to increase "information-processing
speeds and problem-solving speeds and for the mathematically
trained, computational speeds because while the early stages
of meditational practice attempt to become more focussed
and aware without thought, distraction, etc., at the advanced
level the awareness part of mind and the problem-solving,
conceptualizing, analyzing, and reasoning part are
re-integrated in a way that mutually enhances these opertations.
Awareness becomes sharper and clearer as if the logical part
were a lens while the logical part is clearer, faster because
less distracted, and tighter in its exactitude in tracing a
line of implication). They also studied advanced meditators
who were advanced martial arts masters.
What they found was that in some instances, given the
speed of 120 meters per second for a neural signal, given
the length a signal would have to transverse from eye to brain,
across physical distances between parts in brain (even on
the assumption of parallel processing), and length of neural
connection between eyes, brain, and hands and feet (for
martial artists' tests), the response time and or
information-processing time to a task or problem or stimulus,
took less time than it should have if all processes involved
were physical. Something happened or some phase of
whatever was going on inside their heads violated, so to
speak, the physical "speed limit." Most conclude that
that since everything physical obeys the "speed limit"
and/or the "speed limit" defines the physical that there
were some non-physical events that took place in these
tests. There is a British physicist that thinks otherwise.
He claims that some physical events DO violate the
physical speed laws (i.e., quantum events in EPR
experiments). Penrose has commented that this might
not necessarily be evidence of non-physical mental
events, but rather, that some mental events or some
aspects of them might be quantum events displaying
some of the properties of the EPR experiments. But
in my opinion, this is even a stranger view, in its
ramifications, than admitting the existence of the non-
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